After walking the winding streets of Puglia’s exquisite Baroque town, Lecce, there’s only one restaurant to go to for authentic Leccese food. The casual, bustly Alle due Corti is so faithful to the cooking of the Salento, south eastern part of Puglia, that even the menu is in dialect. In fact Rosalba de Carlo, who descends from a noble Saltentine family, is such a perfect example of this ancient gastronomy that she’s been a case study at Lecce University.
Each morning she and her son, sommelier Giorgio, hand make the orrichiette and richerette, as she teaches him her secret, treasured recipes, true to the oral tradition where none of them are written down.
The traditional anti pasta is a marvel in itself, around eight clay dishes of steaming vegetables, like roasted fennel with cheese and crumbed sugary yellow peppers. Then the delicious pasta with sweet tomatoes garlic and cheese. Desert, Rosalba’s crowning glory, was a tart of wild cherry jam and mashed almonds.
Superb local cooking you can’t find anywhere else, unless you’re invited into a Leccese family’s home.